Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.
Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.
Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).
Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.
Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.
Most of the documents listed below can be obtained from one of China's Notarial Offices (Gong Zheng Chu). All Chinese documentation to be used abroad is processed through the notary offices and issued in the form of notarial certificates. Notarial offices are located in all major Chinese cities and in rural county seats. These offices are part of the Ministry of Justice structure, but are separate from the people's court system.
Notaries in China do not perform the same functions as their American counterparts. Chinese notaries affix their signatures and office seal to certificates that attest to the probity of claims made by the applicants. By regulation, notaries are empowered to issue certificates only after they conclude that the applicant's claims are true. Notarial certificates of birth, death, marriage, divorce, no criminal record and pre-1981 adoptions are, at best, secondary evidence of the events they purport to document. Although these certificates are secondary evidence, they are used because primary evidence is not standardized, is easily forged, and difficult to evaluate. Notarial certificates are easier to interpret than primary evidence and theoretically represent an expert judgment on the part of the notarial official as to the facts documented.
The certificates can be based upon primary evidence, secondary evidence, testimony of the applicant or other parties, or investigation by the notary. For most notarial certificates of birth or adoption, the primary underlying documentation is the household register (HHR) which appears to be extremely susceptible to fraud and manipulation, especially if the holder of the HHR lives outside of a major metropolitan area. Notarial certificates rarely cite the basis for their issuance.*
Thus a certificate in itself may not be adequate evidence of the facts claimed, and is best used in conjunction with primary and contemporaneous secondary evidence: old land deeds and old family registers; letters or money receipts; family records from countries that have reliable public documents; school and medical records. In relationship cases, especially where the petitioner left China years before, the best evidence of relationship, or lack of it, would be the Hong Kong Certificate of Registered Particulars (for petitioners who lived in Hong Kong), or the petitioner's immigration and/or naturalization file.
Local conditions often do not permit consular officers to conduct on-site inquiries. However, if there is a reason to doubt the claims in a certificate issued by a Chinese notary, the American consular post in the issuing office's area may verify the information through the notarial office, or, if possible, by field investigation. A copy of the document in question should be submitted to the post, as well as detailed reasons for the suspicion. For suspected relationship fraud, the first step should be a check of the information contained in the INS file or Joint Voluntary Agency (JVA) files for former refugees. Given sufficient reason, notaries do investigate, and in some cases, revoke certificates. Several months should be allowed for a reply.
Individuals residing outside of China may obtain notarial certificates from the notarial office with jurisdiction over the county of previous residence. Chinese relatives or friends may request issuance of certificates on behalf of someone now living abroad. Relatives and friends should have specific written authorization from the interested party before they request certificates. Alternatively, persons in need of notarial documents may contact the PRC Embassy or Consulate nearest to their residence abroad and ask that the request be forwarded to the appropriate notarial office. Obtaining a notarial certificate through a PRC Embassy or Consulate can require considerable time.
Original medical certificates of birth (Chu Sheng Yi Xue Zheng Ming) are available starting from 1996. Also available are notarial birth certificates, which are secondary evidence. Due to the lack of a standardized format for birth certificates prior to 1996, original medical certificate of birth (when available) along with a notarial certificate of birth should be requested. Notarial certificates of birth (Chu Sheng Gong Zheng Shu or Chu Sheng Zheng Ming Shu) for persons living in or recently departed from China are generally reliable, but are best used in conjunction with other evidence. They are most often based upon an HHR, (Household Record) which is easily susceptible to fraud, especially in villages. Notarial birth certificates for persons long departed from China are most likely based merely upon the testimony of interested parties.
While some notarial birth certificates will list stepparents or adoptive parents along with natural parents, this is not always the case. In some cases, the certificates will list only the natural parents, covering up an adoption.
Some applicants will present notarial certificates of relationship (Guan Xi Gong Zheng [or Zheng Ming] Shu) in lieu of notarial birth certificates. These certificates of relationship are unreliable and tend to be based solely upon the testimony of interested parties. Notarial birth certificates should be required. Care should be taken with any certificate that lists step relationships. These relationships are as of the date of issuance of the certificate only. Marriage certificates should also be required.
Available in the form of notarial marriage certificates (Jie Hun Gong Zheng [or Zheng Wing] Shu) or death certificates which are generally reliable.
Available in the form of notarial marriage certificates (Jie Hun Gong Zheng [or Zheng Ming] Shu) or death certificates which are generally reliable.
Same-sex marriage is not recognized in China.
Available. Notarial offices will issue notarial divorce certificates based upon extant records to confirm either a court-decreed or uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, a couple can obtain a divorce certificate from the marriage registration office in the neighborhood where they reside. In a contested divorce, both parties will receive a copy of the formal divorce decree from the court at the time the divorce is approved. If the original decree is lost, the same court will often issue a duplicate, but these various decrees or certificates should not be accepted in lieu of the notarial certificates.
Certification is available in the form of a Notarial Adoption Certificate ("Shou Yang Gong Zheng" or "Zheng Ming Shu"); however, in accordance with the most recent revisions to China's adoptions law, a Notarial Adoption Certificateis no longer a requirement in adoption cases that were initiated after April 1, 1999, the effective date of the revisions. Notarial Adoptions Certificatesremain available should any party involved in the adoptions process wish to have one (Adoption Law of the PRC, Chapter II, Article 15).
Prior to January 1981, there were no standardized adoptions laws and regulations in China. Commonly, adoptions were orally agreed to by the adoptive parent(s) and natural parents and/or surviving family members. There may or may not be a written record dating from the time of the adoption in these older cases. Parties to pre-1981 adoptions, however, often secured Notarial Adoptions Certificates at a later point in time that listed the natural parents' names, adoptive parents' names, and the date of the adoption. These certificates were supposedly issued only after the notary ascertained that an adoption took place conforming to local practice and regulation. Although notarial offices issued certificates for pre-January 1981 adoptions, these are considered to have been extremely susceptible to fraud, such that contemporaneous evidence of the adoption and co-residence, especially in the form of school records, is required for verification purposes.
Following Enactment of the Adoption Law of China, Effective April 1, 1992
China codified its adoptions laws and regulations in the Current Adoption Law of China on December 29, 1991, which came into force on April 1, 1992. Under this law, a Notarial Adoption Certificate was required in all adoption cases, and the inability to obtain a Notarial Adoption Certificate was prima facie evidence no adoption ever took place. Therefore, adoptions taking place after January 1981 and before April 1, 1999 are considered valid only with the issuance of a Notarial Adoptions Certificate. Additionally, for adoptions cases initiated during this period, the date of issuance of the Notarial Adoptions Certification serves as the effective date of adoption.
Revisions to the Adoption Law of China, Effective April 1, 1999
On November 4, 1998, China amended its adoptions law, effective April 1, 1999. Under the revised law, Notarial Adoption Certificates are no longer required in the adoptions process, nor are they used to establish the effective date of adoption. Instead, a Certificate of Registration of Adoption is used, and the effective date of an adoption is the date of registration (Revised Measures for Registration of Adoption of Children by Foreigners, Article 11). These certificates are issued by the provincial-level Ministry of Civil Affairs, which is responsible for approving all adoptions of parentless or abandoned children who becomes the wards of the Chinese state.
International (Inter-country) Adoptions in China
Foreigners may, in accordance with the Adoption Law of China, adopt a child (male or female) in the PRC. As in a domestic adoption, the adoptive relationship shall be established as the date of registration in all adoptions concluded on or after April 1, 1999, the effective date of the revised law. For adoptions occurring prior to that date, failure to obtain a Notarial Certificate of Adoption remains prima facie evidence a legal adoption never took place. While a Notarized Adoptions Certificate is no longer required, one may be obtained should any party involved in the adoption relationship wish to have one. Moreover, it remains true that if a foreign parent or married couple adopts a Chinese orphan, at least one of the adoptive parents must travel to China to complete the adoption, at which time they will receive a Notarial Birth Certificate and a Notarial Abandonment Certificate (Revised Measures for Registration of Adoption of Children by Foreigners, Article 8). The Notarial Abandonment Certificate should detail under what circumstances the child was either orphaned or abandoned. Please consult the U.S. Consulate Guangzhou's Adoption Unit for more on the inter-country adoptions process.
Generally available, reliable. Persons should apply for a certificate of no criminal record at the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) (or certain types of employers such as state owned enterprises), then make application to the notary office for a certificate based on the PSB document. Persons without a criminal record will be able to obtain a certificate to that effect. Certificates for individuals with one or more criminal convictions will list all convictions for which records still exist. The certificates purport to reflect all criminal convictions during residence in China. Police records are generally not available for the period prior to 1949. Certificates are available for those in the J-1, Z, and X categories. The GOC does not issue police records for temporary residents of China in L or F visa categories.
Police records also are not available for those who were in China in diplomatic status including those working for international organizations such as the United Nations. Notarial police certificates are based in part upon records from an individual's employer. If an employer refuses to release records, the notarial office is not able to issue a certificate. This is the case for persons sent abroad for education by the Chinese Government who fail to return to China.
According to a 1957 state council ruling that is still in force, the imposition of a re-education through labor (Lao Dong Jiao Yu) term does not result from a criminal conviction. Administrative organs, rather than courts, impose re-education through labor. It is important to distinguish re-education through labor from labor reform (Lao Dong Gai Zao), which is a sentence meted out for criminal offenses.
Available in most cases. Normally, when someone is tried by a people's court or by an organ of the executive branch of government, some record remains of the case even for a political crime. In some instances, the entire formal court verdict (Pan Jue Shu) is available upon request by the former defendant. In other cases, the court can provide only a synopsis of the charges and the verdict. In all instances, it is necessary to have the applicant request court records. If an applicant is unable to secure court records, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, or the posts in China with jurisdiction over the area where the record is located can contact the appropriate provincial foreign affairs office and request assistance in securing records. It is not advisable for other U.S. officials to contact courts directly. Most court records will also indicate the original sentence, the actual sentence served and any reduction or commutation of the original sentence. Court records are generally not available for the period prior to 1949.
See Court Record above.
Generally not available.
There are four types of Chinese passports:
Travel Document: Blue. A Travel Document is issued by Chinese diplomatic representative offices outside of China to Chinese citizens who, due to time constraints or other reasons, are unable to apply for a regular passport. If the Travel Document is annotated as “Valid only for return travel to China” the document becomes invalid as soon as the holder enters China. A Travel Document may also be issued by Chinese diplomatic representative offices to residents of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan who do not possess mainland travel permits and who need to travel to mainland China. A Travel Document will typically either be issued as single entry for mainland China with one year of validity, or as multiple entries/exits for mainland China with two years of validity. Travel Document validity cannot be extended. A Travel Document can also be used to apply for third country visas as well as used to travel to a third country.
Available. Notarial Work Experience Certificates (NWECS) briefly describe an applicant's work experience in the PRC. They should be required of all employment based preference immigrant applicants who claim work experience in China. Employer's letters or sworn statements from persons claiming person's knowledge should not be accepted in lieu of NWECS. The inability of an applicant to obtain a NWEC should be regarded as prima facie evidence the applicant does not possess the claimed experience.
Beijing (Embassy) -- NIV except K
DPO AP 96521-7300
No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Beijing, China 100600
Tel: (86-10) 8531-4000 (ACS), 8531-3000 (NIV)
Fax: (86-10) 8531-3333 (NIV), 8531-3300 (ACS)
Chengdu (Consulate General)-- NIV except K
DPO, AP 96521-4080
Number 4, Lingshiguan Road,
Chengdu, Sichuan, PRC 610041
Tel: (28) 8558-3992, 8558-9642
Fax: (28) 88-3520
Guangzhou (Consulate General) -- All categories
U.S. Consulate General
43 Hua Jiu Road, Zhujiang New Town
Huaxia Road, Zhujiang New Town, (near Exit B1 of the Zhujiang New Town subway station, Line 3 and Line 5)
Shanghai (Consulate General)-- NIV except K
DPO, AP 96521-4100
1469 Huai Hai Zhong Lu
Shanghai, PRC 200031
Tel: (86-21) 8011-2600
(after hours) (86-21) 6433-3936
Fax: (86-21) 6471-1493, 6433-4122, 6471-1148
Shenyang (Consulate General) -- NIV except K
DPO, AP 8531-4110
No. 52, 14 Wei Road
Shenyang, Liaoning, PRC 110003
Tel: (86-24) 2322-1198, 2322-0368
Fax: (86-24) 2322-2374
|Guangzhou||All IV applications for China (PRC).
All K NIV applications for China.
|Beijing||All of China except for areas serviced by Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang.|
|Chengdu||Chongqing Municipality Sichuan Province, Tibet Autonomous Region, and Yunnan Province.|
|Guangzhou||Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, and Hainan.|
|Shanghai||Shanghai Municipality and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang.|
|Shenyang||Provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang.
The embassy/consular districts include the following provinces/regions of China:
Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.